Swim for Your Soul, Stride with Power


What do you reach for when you are bewildered, sad, weary, feeling alone, not sure about your direction or feeling weak? What are your standbys that take care of you and bring you sturdiness or clarity or energy to stride into your life? Do you have recovery standbys?

I have several fall back proven winners.   They are meditation or mindfulness exercises, journal writing, books, healthy meals [protein, vegetables, fruit, water, grains], adequate rest, walking my dog, dancing and.....swimming.

This is life without an eating disorder. No escaping into food or starvation. I need to be present and capable to fulfill the challenges I've set in motion. So do you.

So I'm back in the pool after several years of not swimming on a regular basis.  What a joy to feel my whole self glide through the water.  I feel cool and sleek as a seal. Each stroke in the crawl stretches my body, mind and spirit.  I feel a happiness in my muscles as they once again do what they know and love to do, working in harmony to propel me through the water.

My old standard was one thousand meters.  I did a thousand because I liked the sound of it.  I felt I had a solid accomplishment with a thousand meters.  I even like writing it. The athletes at my gym respected that number.  No matter that I alternated laps doing the crawl and then the back stroke.  No matter that I didn't and still don't have speed.  Nor do I generate that impressive ryhtmic splash that the gym heroes seem do create effortlessly.  But, a thousand meters is a thousand meters.  I stand tall on that number.

Two weeks ago I did 500 meters.  Last week I did 600 meters.  This week I did 700 meters.  I feel myself getting stronger.  Plus, I meet people.

Today after I swam 500 meters, I met Ian, a gym hero, Ian.  Ian showed me how to use a medicine ball in the water.  At first I didn't understand his directions.  When I tried to follow I did something that was so simple and easy I knew I was not working against any resistance. He said, "Dive down and watch me do it under water."

I did.  I saw power and grace in his powerful legs as he walked and forced the ball through the water with massive muscle power.  What I saw looked like a Giant in a fairy tale crossing a farm in one stride, pushing aside whole trees as he went.  I came up and said, "I see it. I see the rhythm and the twist."  Then I added, "You stride with power."

He smiled and said, "That's it," and tossed me the ball.  I was striding with power!  I strode like a Giant, pushing away all resistance in my path.  And that's the metaphor I need now, in my body as well as my soul. Afterwards I swam another two hundred meters.

What helps you stride with power in your life?  Where do you experience the pleasure of pushing away all resistence in your path?



Mary Louise Stewart
0 # When I feel low, which still happens quiMary Louise Stewart 2011-07-21 03:30
When I feel low, which still happens quite often, I resort to the following: going for a walk, eating a healthy and "safe" meal - fruit, veggies and protein - and, I must confess, smoking a cigarette or two. The latter isn't a good thing, I know, but I'm trying to finish my master's and to avoid relapsing in bulimia, and I'm struggling, so I really don't feel like quitting the smoking habit right now.
I've tried to keep a journal, as you suggested, but haven't had much success. Not sure why, but I panic when I try. The only thing I managed to accomplish is to finish my exams at uni. I have to write my final dissertation now - deadline is October - and that will be hard... I've also started looking for an post graduation internship, I'm afraid that will prove to be an impossible mission :sad:

Thank you so much Joanna for being here for us.
0 # Hi, Mary Louise, The options you usepinkjoanna 2011-07-21 09:43
Hi, Mary Louise,

The options you use to care for yourself are wonderful. All of us need to keep adding to our choices as we move through love even though many, like yours, are basic standbys forever.

Going for your masters means that you are striding with power. And that means you need to replenish your energy to maintain your power. You are finding great ways to do that.

It also means you need to limit or stop any power leaks that drain you from striding forward in your life.

Certainly everything about an eating disorder is draining - time, money, energy, concentration, dull mind, etc. You know.'s familiar and feels like home. Panic at writing in a journal means that you are about to tamper with something that is in place.

There are lots of ways to journal, Mary Louise. If you do will probably begin to stop some power leakage and that will help you move on in your masters program.

Don't make journalling a big deal. Just write a few sentences now an then about how you feel or what you want or where you're mad or scared or pleased. You can write them on scraps of paper or in margins of something you're working on. Just give yourself an outlet to pull out what's eroding your energy and bringing up cravings.

Easy does it as you write things down will do more than you can imagine.

And there's the standby of Dear God letters. Like, Dear God,Thank you for this wonderful internship program. I've been here now for three months, learning, growing and making wonderful relationships. Thank you for making this possible for me. with love and respect, Mary Louise Stewart.

Think of what you want, even if it seems impossible. Imagine having it in the best possible way. Then write your thank you from that place.

Even if you don't believe it, do it anyway. And as often as you can.

Let me know how you are and how it's all going, Mary Louise. Thank you for writing. I'm cheering for you. We all are.


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